Instagram needs to evolve

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

When you think back on your earliest birthday parties, memories of handwriting invitations to all the kids in your class on balloon-decorated stationery come to mind. Later on, you might have used e-cards to invite your closest middle school friends to your super cool sleepover party. Around high school, when Facebook was all the rage, Facebook Events provided an easy, one stop-shop for all your invitation and event planning needs. As Facebook grows increasingly obsolete as a social network for our generation, Instagram should create an event page feature as the next step in the evolution of invitations.

Since many of us only use Facebook to sell last semester’s textbooks on Free and For Sale, it’s likely that we will forget to respond to Facebook Events. As it stands, Facebook Events are the most convenient way to plan parties and invite friends to attend get-togethers. A lot of people our age, however, rarely check Facebook notifications and may miss out on a fun opportunity. Because of this, Facebook Events are becoming less convenient since event creators have to text invitees individually to remind them of the upcoming festivities if they don’t respond to the event page request.

Although Facebook has become a place for hyper-political aunts to post rants or random people you went to high school with sending you requests to like their small business page, Instagram — for the time being — remains alive and well among our peers. In fact, even though Instagram has not yet created a way to make event pages on the social media platform, some users have taken matters into their own hands. Instagram users will sometimes create entirely new accounts just for an event, request all the invitees to follow the page, and then share information about the event in a series of posts. This method, however, is susceptible to some of the same pitfalls as Facebook Events; invitees could easily forget to respond to the follow request or not recognize that the Instagram page seeks to serve as an event page.

Instagram should implement a feature similar to Facebook Events where invitees will be automatically included in the conversation rather than having to follow a new account. This would make the process of event planning easier and more effective. Instagram needs to keep its key demographic in mind when considering features and upgrades to stay relevant in the ever-changing social media environment.

The lack of an events planning feature is just another in a series of Instagram’s tendency to ignore the requests of users. Instead of focusing on the needs of everyday users, Instagram has the tendency to prioritize development of features that benefit commercial users. For example, almost nine years after Instagram’s creation, users still lack the ability to include direct links in the comments of a post. With all the advancements in technology, there is something archaic about writing “link in bio” in the year 2019. Of course, this feature has been extended to businesses where users can click “shop now” or “learn more” to be redirected to a website, but this feature should be extended to average, noncommercial users as well. While other new Instagram features like sharing a story someone tagged you in on your own story can be fun, Instagram still has other issues to work out in the interest of the majority of users.

Instead of listening to the cries of its average users, Instagram has focused on developing features that seem arbitrary and unnecessary like Instagram TV (IGTV) which again is mostly useful for people utilizing Instagram for profit. Another example is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recently announced plan to integrate the messaging functions of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

Instagram has grown a lot in the past nine years, implementing new features like saving posts, a messaging platform, Instagram Stories and more. But if Instagram wants to maintain the fidelity of our generation, it needs to respond to the services we actually want. When there’s a party to be held, Instagram should be in on the action with an event planning function for all our celebration needs.